Thanks, everyone! I'm glad you enjoyed taking a look. It is always fun to share.
@Jedi: Actually, and I think we really tried to go in positive about this, but the Europeans were as rude as their reputation. Neither of us is loud in private, much less in public, so they certainly can't hold the "Loud, obnoxious American" stereotype as reason to hate us, specifically. But dislike us they did. We tried to be savvy Americans, tried to figure things out on our own. And for the most part we did just fine. But for the few occasions we got something wrong or needed to ask a question, we were almost immediately snapped at or dismissed with an irritated shrug of the shoulders. Don't get me wrong, there were polite Europeans. But I would say it was more common to meet those who had no interest in dealing with us. And I'm not just talking about random people on the street! I mean employees, whose job it is to help us. But it seems the idea of "Customer Service" is not a thing over there. They will tell you "I don't know", and turn away with an air of "Leave me alone." Never, "I don't know, let me find out." Or "I don't know, but you can ask so and so." Just complete dismissal. And my goodness, don't misunderstand a custom or rule, you will not get a chance to correct your mistake before you are set upon with harsh reprimands. And certainly don't ask for anything they didn't give you already. You get what you get, and you are happy about it (despite the fact that you are the paying customer!). For an example of each:
1. A lot of the cafes there have outside seating. One cafe in particular that we enjoyed was in the Munich City Center, and we had already eaten there once at the outside seating. The next day we returned, but we were in a little of a rush. So we bought our items inside (where there is no seating, mind you), and went to sit outside for a few minutes before heading on our way. It was not even a minute or two before we were set upon by the waitress yelling at us in German. Seeing our perplexed expressions, she even more irritably switched to English and berated us that we could not sit outside if we had ordered inside. Outside seating was only for those who ordered outside from the waitress. I understand that we made the mistake, but how were we to know? There were no signs, and there was plenty of empty seating. But we got no chance to correct our mistake before we were sent away with angry chiding.
2. We ordered plain cheesecake from a cafe. Instead of telling us, "I'm sorry, we're out of plain cheesecake", the waitress simply brought us cherry cheesecake and said, "This is all I have" before she was gone again. I very much dislike cherries, which meant this was not a suitable replacement to our order. But we had no chance to explain that, and we were charged for a wasted cheesecake all the same.
These are not isolated incidents, we were met with this type of attitude through much of our trip. So I suppose it is simply important to note that the customer, despite being the one with the money, is certainly not the top priority.
Don't get me wrong about the attitudes of the people. Again I stress that not everyone was that way. It was just far more common than you would find here in the States. And we still had a wonderful time, regardless.
But anyway, not to complain. They have their customs, we have ours. I can certainly see how oftentimes the customer is too right in America. But I don't think the European approach is healthy, either. We need a balance.
Yes, it was very nice walking around the city. I think I most enjoyed that about Lucerne. We were getting weary at that point, and it was just nice to walk around and observe. That's also how we ran across the New Orleans bar in Munich! Which was totally cool.
As for the souvenirs! No, there was no souvenir shop at the bunker. There was a shop at the concentration camp, but just for books and DVD documentaries on the subject. We bought one of the books. I got a bowl made from salt at the salt mines, as well as a salted chocolate bar. In each country we got coffee cups from Starbucks with the country name on them. Also got a winter hat from Mount Pilatus with the name and logo on it. Can't wait until it's cold enough to wear (yes, it is still too hot in Louisiana for hats)! Let's see...I got my dad a Swiss Army knife from Switzerland. I know you can buy them anywhere, but it was the principle. Plus the one I got had a nearby landmark etched in the plating. So that was neat. My sister is a huge fan of Sleeping Beauty, and a heavy tea drinker. So I bought her a tea mug from the castle with scenery from the site on it.
I will post some pictures of the souvenirs before I give them to the intended recipients. And the food! I didn't really address the food. I would say for the most part it was unremarkable. Very similar to what you find here at home. But still, some of the restaurants presented it very well. Hence pictures were taken.
"It's not about the legacy you leave, it's about the life you live." ~Mara Jade Skywalker